The New Orleans Pelicans are seeking a current All-Star, a future one and two first-round picks in exchange for Anthony Davis, and they would prefer the framework of a trade to be in place before the draft, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The specifics of Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin’s preferred trade package may vary, depending on the value of each of those assets. This report almost certainly means potential suitors will have to include other teams in order to meet these considerable and appropriate demands in a Davis deal.
With recent All-Stars Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, All-Defensive guard Marcus Smart and rising stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, along with three 2019 first-round picks and a lightly protected future selection from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Boston Celtics may be the lone team capable of meeting Griffin’s ask by itself.
The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, owners of this year’s Nos. 3 and 4 overall picks, lack All-Star talent, save for LeBron James, who is not on the table. Depending on how you view the current Los Angeles Clippers roster, they may lack all three of those assets. The Brooklyn Nets have budding talents Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, as well as 2019 All-Star D’Angelo Russell — who as a restricted free agent would have to agree to a sign-and-trade — but they lack a high-end first-round pick.
According to Wojnarowski, those four teams from the league’s two biggest media markets are in hottest pursuit of Davis. Others are reportedly emboldened by Kawhi Leonard’s success with the Toronto Raptors on a one-year rental and Kevin Durant’s potential exit from the dynastic Golden State Warriors, both of which could open the door for any number of teams to compete for the 2020 title with Davis.
A six-time All-Star and among the handful of best players in the NBA, Davis can become an unrestricted free agent in July 2020, giving him some leverage over his landing spot. Teams will be less likely to part with as many assets as Griffin is seeking if they are not assured of re-signing Davis to a long-term deal beyond then.
Davis listed the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks as preferred destinations when he first requested a trade in February, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. (Milwaukee also lacks the future building blocks to make a deal.)
Boston looms as the wildcard to offer the most overwhelming trade package, but they are in a holding pattern. The Celtics are waiting on a firm commitment from Kyrie Irving, an unrestricted free agent who has also been linked to the Nets, Knicks, Lakers and anywhere else his friend Davis might land. That is unlikely to come before the draft on June 20, when Griffin would like picks in hand in order to select the players he prefers. The Celtics will be hesitant to trade Tatum, Brown and/or Smart for a rental of Davis, without Irving there to help convince him to stay.
However this plays out, the many reverberations of the Davis sweepstakes will keep all eyes on the NBA for another 10 days, regardless of whether or not Leonard’s Raptors put an end to Durant’s Warriors in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday.
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